Daniela Caputo's Destinations: First flying experience during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic

Daniela, we’ve known each other for many years, so you know how much I love travelling. Since the month of March, I’ve been restless and itching to resume my travels. As all of you know, the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed the tourism and travel industry all over the world. This industry has taken a hard hit because of the pandemic. In order to restore confidence with travelers and restart the travel industry, many changes have been made. If we want to keep travelling and stay safe, we have to accept and abide by this new reality. So here is a look at my first flight of 2020 during this pandemic. My husband and I decided to travel within Canada as the 14 days isolation restriction is not required to or from our destination, which was in the province of Alberta and also for travel insurance purposes.  

Twenty-four hours prior to our flight on Air Canada, we check-in, chose our seats, checked and paid for our luggage, so all we had to do at the Air Canada area was to print our luggage tags and boarding passes at the automated airport check-in kiosk. Upon arriving at the airport, just like any other public place, face covering, and hand sanitizing is mandatory. There are many signs informing us to respect the 2- meter social distancing rule. The first thing that we noticed was that the airport was a ghost town. It was surreal and sad to see that there were only a few people and most of the shops were closed. At the automated check-in kiosk, we got our luggage tags for our suitcases, but we were travelling with a sports equipment bag, which we paid for on-line, but could not get the tag for this bag because Air Canada policy is that you have to go to the counter to validate your coupon and the employee will give you the tag. Which I found ridiculous as it defeats the purpose of limiting contact with others.

Before arriving at the security check point, our temperature was taken. I found the set-up really functional and not intimidating. It was as if you were going to take a photo. One by one we were asked to stand on the marked area, look straight ahead and that’s it. It only took a few seconds and we were off to security. We were told by an agent that the Nexus line was closed at this time due to the lack of crowds.

While we were waiting for our flight to board, we ordered a snack and sat in the designated area, where we could take off our face covering during the time we were seated there.

Once on board the plane it felt a little strange seeing the crew greet us with gloves and face coverings. All the passengers were respectful, abiding by the new rules and the crew was very strict about enforcing the wearing of the face covering properly. They would check regularly to make sure it covered the top of the nose down to the chin and if not, they would advise the passenger to adjust it appropriately.   

Once in the air, each passenger was given a sealed plastic bag containing a small bottle of water, latex gloves, a disposable face covering, a tiny bottle of hand sanitizer and two small alcohol wipes. At this time, there were no meals served, just drinks, such as, pop, coffee, tea, juice or water. Nothing sold that needed a credit card transaction, to limit interaction between crew and passengers.

All in all, for my husband and I, it was a positive first flight experience. Did we enjoy wearing our face coverings during the flight? No, but we brought our lunch and snacks so while we ate, we were allowed to take off the face covering so it wasn’t too bad. We were delayed about 20 minutes because of the new sanitizing procedure on board the plane. Every surface is sprayed, including overhead compartments, and then every surface is wiped down. In addition, in regards with the new safety protocols, all planes are now equipped with HEPA filtrationsystems that capture 99.9% of airborne particles, and continually refreshes cabin air.

We made a video of the whole process, so you can see for yourself.

Dora Paventi  

Retired & enjoying life travelling the world

Facebook page @Les Escapades de Dora et Alain

Montreal Event Planner has become the go-to authority in the event planning business, not only because of its reputable success, but also because of the expertise and professionalism of owner Daniela Caputo, who combs the globe on a regular basis to find the best destinations for her clients (and our readers!).